The Giants had a chance to drive a stake into the Washington Redskins – and likely the rest of the division – but let them off the hook.
It’s a recurring theme for Big Blue, as they once again find themselves in a divisional dogfight, despite showing time and again that they are the best team in the division – when they want to be.
There’s something fundamentally missing with this team, as they’ve displayed an ability to stay with teams like the Patriots, Falcons, and a healthy and complete Cowboys team, yet find ways to squander all of those opportunities. Perhaps it’s a lack of respect for the game, a tuning out of their coaches’ heeds, or taking lesser opponents lightly. Whatever it is, it certainly has to change, or there will be wholesale changes within the front office, coaching staff, and roster.
Wideout Dwayne Harris hinted that perhaps the team didn’t regard head coach Tom Coughlin’s words when asked about the sluggish start for a team that doesn’t have the equity to throw away quarters and games.
Harris admitted that Big Blue “wasn’t ready to play … [and] probably took [Washington] for granted.”
New York (5-6) entered Washington winners of five-straight games in this series, including a dominating 32-21 victory earlier this season, so being overconfident could be excused – but only for a franchise that has been a consistent winner. The fact that the Giants haven't been the model of consistency this season and have missed the playoffs the past four years, makes the thought of that team coming out flat and overconfident seem ludicrous.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara lamented the team’s lack of until the team was down 20-0 in the fourth quarter, but spun the fact that the division is so pitiful, that Big Blue’s aspirations aren’t dashed just yet.
“We’re disappointed in ourselves, but we’re not discouraged,” said Amukamara. “Our goal of winning the NFC East is still achievable.”
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Eli Manning echoed those thoughts, adding the mistakes they made weren’t necessarily a sign that voices have been tuned out, but rather a lack of execution and maybe some slippage in fundamentals.
“We didn’t have our best performance yesterday [and] I wish we played better. But I thought our effort was there. I thought desire was there. We just have to be better with the execution,” Manning said, adding that the playoffs are still a goal and “it’s still right there.”
Both Amukamara and Manning are right to assess that their dreams aren’t totally dashed, but with Washington currently holding the tie-breaker, the Giants will need to finish ahead of them in the sad-sack NFC East – a faction so irrelevant that even the Cowboys (3-8) remain in the hunt.
“We’re still OK. This one’s on us [the players],” said Harris. “It was one of those games where it was a playoff game and we didn’t play the way we were capable of playing ... The way we played was definitely not a showing of what we can do.”
Too bad Harris may be wrong, as Sunday’s shameful performance just might’ve displayed who the Giants truly are – an up-and-down team that fails to sense urgency and are now in a divisional race that’s up for grabs.
Big Blue notes:
- This is the second season in a row that the Giants lost both the game before and the game after the bye. Prior to 2014, that hadn’t happened since 2002.
- The Giants have now lost this season in Dallas, in Philadelphia, and in Washington. This is the first season since 1996 in which they’ve lost all of their NFC East road games.
- The Giants ran for 33 total yards against the league’s 30th-ranked run defense. That doesn’t bode well with the Jets’ top-ranked run defense up next.